Interviews

Interview: Elijah Noll on His Latest Music Video and His History with Chicago

Elijah Noll by Anthony Trevino

If Elijah Noll could pick any superpower, it would be teleportation. “I’d love to be in as many places as once. I could have so many more experiences. That’s all that really matters to me,” he says.

As it happens, Noll has been to quite a few places and experienced a lot in his 28 years. The Portland, ME native would end up migrating to Chicago and eventually ending up in Los Angeles, on the other side of the country, where he currently resides.

Similarly, his music draws inspiration from many places and influences. Words like “diverse” and “eclectic” might be overused to the point of cliche when talking about new music and up-and-coming artists, but they are a perfect fit when describing not just the music of Elijah Noll, but his influences and thoughts.

This summer, Noll released his latest single, Poison, and the accompanying music video, directed by Raul Gonzo dropped on Aug. 24.

“I wanted the video to show this progressive poisoning,” said Noll, building up to a point where it “goes off the rails.”

The video, which begins with Noll calmly standing and singing, is spliced with bits of him flailing his arms and body wildly. “My body was very sore the next day,” Noll adds, laughing. Gonzo’s editing adds a level of psychedelic trippiness to the whole affair.

“I really like to blend the ethereal sound with a little more hard-hitting anthemic feel” Noll said regarding the his sonic preferences.

While “Poison” certainly has an anthemic and modern sound and a slickly produced video to accompany it, Noll wrote it on a humble acoustic guitar. As a multi-instrumentalist, Noll cut his teeth early, taking up violin at age three while living in Maine. His mother would take him to drum circles and encourage him in his musical pursuits.

“It’s cool because I grew up in a small-town atmosphere, so I was fortunate enough to have the ocean nearby, and then you can drive 45 minutes and go hiking and skiing in the mountains in the winter,” said Noll, who also surfed during the warmer months.

Noll would also take up guitar and percussion in his youth. In high school, he began to write and record his own music on an impromptu setup of a desktop with Windows 98 installed and a primitive microphone not designed for music. In those pre-Soundcloud days, distributing his music meant passing out physical CDs he’d made to classmates and friends.

“I would say they’re pretty shitty now,” Noll laughs, “but at the time I was probably the only kid writing songs and recording them.”

Moving to Chicago as an adult, Noll found a proving ground. “I like to think of Chicago as where I grew as an artist,” he said. It was here that Noll was in a band with one of his friends and work on music with his roommates in their apartment near Wrigley when they weren’t at their “shitty jobs.”

Elijah Noll by Anthony Trevino

“We all had a common interest in that we were making pop music. We weren’t able to find a lot of other people that really just wanted to make pop music.” Nonetheless, Noll’s friends had an eclectic range of influences when making pop, from R&B to folk.

It has now been a year since Noll moved to Los Angeles, where he has found a very talented and supportive group of people. “The pop and alternative community is so much more vibrant out here,” Noll said.

There’s also been ample space for Elijah to explore his inner introvert and extrovert. “I like the duality of being able to go and sit in my home studio and have all this time to be introspective and dig deep, and then also get out and be social and talk with a bunch of people about what they’re going through and create this really exciting, collaborative piece of art.”

Noll has collaborated with no less than singer Colin Dieden of The Mowgli’s, whose band he’ll be embarking on a six-date tour with including stops in California, plus Phoenix, AZ in November.

While there are no Chicago dates currently on the books for Noll, he says he’d love to play a venue like Schuba’s or Lincoln Hall. At the same time, he has his sights set on the gigantic crowds. “I’d like to be able to put on a show in an arena but make part of the show feel like its in a small club like Schuba’s.”

Time will tell when Chicagoans will get to see Elijah Noll make a triumphant return to their city, but if this year is any indication, we definitely haven’t heard the last of him yet.

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